Thomas Shapcott

Last updated
Thomas Shapcott AO
BornThomas William Shapcott
(1935-03-21) 21 March 1935 (age 83)
Ipswich, Queensland, Australia
OccupationPoet, novelist, playwright, editor, librettist, short story writer and teacher
Nationality Australian
Notable awards2000: Patrick White Award
Spouse Judith Rodriguez

Thomas William Shapcott AO (born 21 March 1935) is an Australian poet, novelist, playwright, editor, librettist, short story writer and teacher.



Thomas William Shapcott [1] was born in Ipswich, Queensland, and attended the Ipswich Grammar School with his twin brother, who was born on the previous day (20 March 1935). (The writer is left-handed, but his twin is right-handed.) He left school at 15 to work in his father's accountancy business, but completed an accountancy degree in 1961. In 1967 he graduated in arts from the University of Queensland. [2]

Ipswich, Queensland Suburb of Ipswich, Queensland, Australia

Ipswich is an urban region in south-east Queensland, Australia, which is located in the south-west of the Brisbane metropolitan area. Situated on the Bremer River, it is approximately 40 kilometres (25 mi) west of the Brisbane CBD. A local government area, the City of Ipswich has a population of 200,000. The city is renowned for its architectural, natural and cultural heritage. Ipswich preserves and operates from many of its historical buildings, with more than 6000 heritage-listed sites and over 500 parks. Ipswich began in 1827 as a mining settlement.

Ipswich Grammar School

Ipswich Grammar School is an independent, non-denominational, day and boarding school for boys, located in Ipswich, a city situated on the Bremer River in South East Queensland, Australia. The school is sited on the eponymous Grammar School Hill, with its original buildings occupying the crown of the hill. Some of the Ipswich Grammar School Buildings are listed on the Queensland Heritage Register.

University of Queensland university in Australia

The University of Queensland (UQ) is a public research university primarily located in Queensland's capital city, Brisbane, Australia. Founded in 1909 by the state parliament, UQ is Australia's fifth oldest university and is colloquially known as a sandstone university. UQ is considered to be one of Australia's leading universities, and is ranked as the 48th most reputable university in the world. The University of Queensland is a founding member of online higher education consortium edX, Australia's research-intensive Group of Eight, and the global Universitas 21 network.

His first artistic impulse was to be a composer. By age 19, he had written a number of works, but he turned away from music when he discovered a string quartet he had written unconsciously plagiarised a chamber work by Ernest Bloch. [3] He then worked as a tax accountant, a profession that he pursued for 27 years.

Ernest Bloch American composer

Ernest Bloch was a Swiss-born American composer. Bloch was a pre-eminent artist in his day and left a lasting legacy. He is recognised as one of the greatest Swiss composers in history. As well as producing musical scores, Bloch had an academic career that culminated in his recognition as Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley in 1952.

He was director of the Australia Council's Literature Board for seven years, and Executive Director of the National Book Council (1992–97). He was Professor of Creative Writing at Adelaide University. [4]

He has written 15 collections of poetry and 6 novels.

Thomas Shapcott was appointed an Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia in 1989. [1]

Order of Australia series of Australian national honours

The Order of Australia is an order of chivalry established on 14 February 1975 by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, to recognise Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or meritorious service. Before the establishment of the order, Australian citizens received British honours.

Selected list of works

Poetry collections

Time on Fire (1961) is the debut collection of poems by Australian poet Thomas Shapcott. It won the Grace Leven Prize for Poetry in 1961.


Short story collections

Young Adult



See also

First Seed Ripening an album by Elixir and Katie Noonan. The tracks on this album are inspired by Shapcott's writing.

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  1. 1 2 It's an Honour
  2. Australian Poets and their Works, by W. Wilde, Oxford University Press, 1996
  3. Jason Steger, Best wishes from Patrick White: $20,000 prize for a man of letters, Sydney Morning Herald , 11 November 2000, p.5
  4. The Age , Easter Edition 25–26 March 2005, Review, p. 16
  5. National Library of Australia Theatre of darkness : Lillian Nordica as opera; Retrieved 11 August 2013